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Mnangagwa pledges IDs for Gukurahundi genocide victims

by Staff reporter
24 Aug 2020 at 07:16hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has committed itself to immediately roll out a process of issuing identity documents to victims of Gukurahundi who were rendered stateless by government-sanctioned mass killings.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa reportedly made the commitment during his meeting with civil society organisations (CSOs) under the banner Matabeleland Collective during a consultative meeting held at State House in Bulawayo on Saturday.

The Gukurahundi issue was topical during the closed-door meeting, where Mnangagwa conceded to a request to expedite the issuance of identity documents.

"The exercise to issue out documentation to victims of Gukurahundi will be rolled out as soon as the involved parties have agreed on all logistical arrangements," Information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana said.

Thousands of Gukurahundi victims are without identity documents after losing their parents and guardians to the Gukurahundi massacres in the 1980s in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

Mnangagwa also met Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni and councillors where he promised government's commitment to step in and address biting water shortages in the city.

Residents are going for weeks without water, forcing them to turn to unsafe sources in desperation. Just last week, city fathers made the situation a lot worse by suspending the water-shedding timetable without notice, attracting anger from residents in the process.

"This proposal should outline the major challenges and proposed solutions thereof in a format depicting activities, the cost and overall budget in three phases and this should be brought to his Excellency's attention as soon as possible in the interest of bringing water to Bulawayo," Mangwana added.

Water shortages in the city recently resulted in a diarrhoea outbreak that killed 13 people and infected over 2 000 others.

Mnangagwa was accompanied by Local Government minister July Moyo, State Security minister Owen Ncube, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Judith Ncube, among other government officials.

On Friday, Justice secretary Virginia Mabiza revealed that Mnangagwa would soon officially launch a programme for the issuance of birth and death certificates to the victims of Gukurahundi in either of the Matabeleland provinces of his choice.

Mabiza said the Saturday meeting was a follow-up to the July 2 indaba the President held with the CSOs.

"This is basically a follow-up on issues discussed with CSOs in Bulawayo mostly to do with issues of birth and death certificates for victims of Gukurahundi. We are also looking at exhumations which is currently being handled by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, but our bigger vision is to conduct a launch and the President is going to be in a province of his choice here in Matabeleland to launch the issuance of birth and death certificates and also looking at issues of exhumations," Mabiza said.

"Remember, it is not only about Gukurahundi, but other broader development issues."

Mabiza said she was seeing a lot of progress in the President's engagement with the Matabeleland Collective and the President had the issues of the region at heart and would resolve them.

However, most local CSO leaders who were there in the first meeting with Mnangagwa did not attend the Saturday meeting after they pulled out last year citing various reasons including lack of political will to address the contentious Gukurahundi issue in the way expected by victims.

Habakkuk Trust chief executive officer Dumisani Nkomo, who was part of the group of the CSOs at the first meeting, said he did not attend the Saturday meeting and described it as a desperate attempt to identify with the people of the region who were victims of Gukurahundi.

Also, Church and Civic Society Joint Forum chairman Anglistone Sibanda and This Constitution leader Abigail Mupambi said they did not attend.

Source - newsday